Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Building on brownfield sites

I've been doing local media today about this piece in the BEP, about the derelict former Royal Mail building by Temple Meads. Are the developers, just sitting on it, waiting for the price of land to increase so they can sell it at a profit, or are they genuine developers (rather than property speculators) and have plans for the site? Given the pressure on land use in the city, and the relative scarcity of brownfield sites, especially in such a plum location, should the Council be doing more to get things moving, or can we do nothing until the developers decide to act?


The Bristol Blogger said...

The most interesting piece of that Post story is this:

"Kate Hartas, spokeswoman for the city council, said it had this month agreed to sell off a small piece of land it owned in front of the former sorting office to the developer."

Why are they selling land to a landowner (not a developer) without conditions or before they've got planning permission?

The building and land has changed hands at least twice with nobody making any effort to develop it (although Media Office got George Ferguson to paint a few watercolours of a bicycle utopia cum creative industries hothouse to publish in the Post).

The history of the Temple Meads area tells you that landowners are more likely to be improving their strategic landholdings with a view to sale rather than attempting to develop the site.

Why is Bristol City Council selling now? Any idiot knows that were the current owners to get planning permission then the value off our land increases.

This sale makes no sense. It just reduces the small amount of influence the public sector can exert over the area.

It also allows for the absurd possibility that if your suggestion - compulsory purchase - is taken up then we'll be compulsorily purchasing our own land back again.

Bristol City Council are mad.

Kerry said...

Which councillor is in charge of the council's property portfolio? I'd like to hear what they have to say about this. You're absolutely right - why sell now, when property prices are low? And for how much? I'm meeting the Chief Exec and Deputy Chief Exec on Monday - will see what they have to say.

seebag said...

Well good luck with that - in my experience the Chief Exec thinks it's fine not to be accountable to anyone for anything.

Steven_L said...

I'm starting to agree with these people who say land value tax is the way forward, and the people who say local sales tax is the way forward as opposed to central government funding for local government.

The only problem is that the people above think regional government is not the way forward, which is the only way the above would work.

In StevenL's Britian the council could just impose an 'eyesore tax' on them.